As Maharashtra Faces Crop Crisis, Top Leaders Visit Flood-Affected Areas

As Maharashtra Faces Crop Crisis, Top Leaders Visit Flood-Affected Areas

"There is a need to tweak the centre's crop insurance law", Sharad Pawar said.


Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and veteran politician Sharad Pawar has backed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray amid attack from the opposition on delay in visiting flood-affected areas in the state. While Mr Pawar is already on a tour, the Chief Minister is visiting flood-affected Solapur today.

"The state will have to borrow to compensate farmers. I will discuss this with the Chief Minister," Mr Pawar told reporters at a press conference at Osmanabad. He has been touring flood-affected areas of Maharashtra and studying crop damage as a result of heavy rain. He is to continue his visit today.

"There is a need to tweak the centre's crop insurance law", Mr Pawar, 79, said as the state finds a way to help farmers who've been badly affected by the rain amid the coronavirus pandemic which has hit the state's finances badly. Mr Pawar has also announced that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding flood relief.

When asked why the Chief Minister was visiting after his tour, Mr Pawar said, "I have a habit where I can't sit in one place." He then went on to say, "The Chief Minister has a lot of responsibilities. He has to take a lot of administrative decisions. He has to interact with agencies. The Chief Minister is visiting tomorrow (Monday). We have appealed to the CM for a system where he will be in Mumbai and take decisions quickly for all districts as we go out and give him feedback from the ground."

Mr Thackeray is visiting the flood-affected Solapur district today. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with district officials for speeding up panchnamas to assess the extent of crop damage and damage to roads and property.

Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is also starting a three-day visit to the flood-hit areas from today. When Sharad Pawar was asked about irregularities in Jal Yukt Shivar, the former Chief Minister's flagship programme for water conservation, Mr Pawar said, "This is the time to help people. We can talk about these things later."

Heavy rains last week as a result of the weather system that caused floods in Telangana and the retreating monsoon has damaged the standing crop in over seven lakh hectares across 10 districts in central and western Maharashtra. Solapur, Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara, Osmanabad, Latur, Beed and Aurangabad districts have received very heavy rains which has destroyed crops like soya bean, cotton, gram, sugarcane and pomegranate. Solapur in western Maharashtra and Osmanabad in central Maharashtra are the worst-affected districts.